A Travellerspoint blog

A Shoe in the Loo

Our trip to Vila (which is where we are right now) was well timed in terms of some much needed shopping. We used our last tin of tomatoes during last week (I'm amazed how long I made 6 tins last) and I also need a new pair of shoes to slip on so I can venture out to the toilet in the middle of the night or go to the shower. The story goes like this...

The other night I was having a particulary bad nights sleep and was unimpressed to wake up yet again and need to go to the toilet. I usually cope OK with the long drop but the disappearance of the sun below the horizon marks the start of cockroach happy hour at the Wain-van den Bronk Loo (it's the hip new place that's recently been renovated!) One of Nic's renovations to the toilet was to get rid of the original wooden crate with a hole in it that was the toilet seat and construct a taller, sturdier seat with a hinged lid so that the cockroaches and spiders couldn't hide under the lip. I found this fantastic and I've been steadily picking off the little blighters by squashling them with my shoe.

However, on the night in question in my sleep deprived state I took aim, smacked at the nasty creature, missed, hit the other edge of the toilet with the recoil of the attempted whack and dropped my shoe into the long drop! I stood in shock at my stupidity (now quite well awake) and then burst out laughing at myself. On going back to bed I found that I still couldn't sleep but this time because I had the giggles and couldn't stop myself from thinking silly things like "Well that's 3000VT down the toilet....literally!" (I'd bought the fake Birkenstocks in a dodgy duty free place when we first arrived in Vila). In the end I had to wake Nic up to tell him & share the hilarity. I'm sure, though, that he didn't need to be woken in the middle of the night to know that he's married a complete dill!

Posted by debnic 19:44 Comments (2)

Little Dog Dingo

~ don't tell Gem & Luna!

Little Dog, Dingo

Here is an indulgent blog of our puppy! He’s very entertaining especially when he’s bouncing after the chickens. (I’m sure he thinks he’s bounding but he has more of a Pepe LePue action of all four feet off the ground at the same time and coming down to land practically in the same place as he left off) We’re slightly concerned that he’ll figure out the co-ordination thing and actually catch one, then we’ll be hauled off to a sorry ceremony to make it up to the owner of the chicken!

Anyway, I think pictures say it all:
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A dog in a hanging basket? It would keep him away from the chickens!

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This one's for Nic's dad, Dingo thinks he's a builder's dog sleeping on the timber!

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He seems to do a lot of sleeping, doesn't he?

In other news:
Nic’s project was officially advertised (to him alone) and he has applied so now we’re just waiting for that to go through. [update: we got the "Yes" email today! Yay!!!]
I’ve run my second workshop on the different ways kids learn which went over quite well – the headmistress couldn’t make it because in the morning she was invited to attend a wedding that day and she needed to go and represent the school (the woman getting married was the daughter of the school council president).
Third term is nearly over (at the time of writing) and Nic & I plan to head over to Vila for some running around and some R&R this time!
We’ve moved to our new place (the other building closer to the sea where we get a better breeze).
We’ve had 100mm of rain in the last 3 days and this is supposedly still the dry season!

Posted by debnic 23:37 Comments (0)

Getting Comfortable

Nic and I have made ourselves a little more comfortable this last week with the addition of some homemade furniture. So far we only have the “prototype” but since it was made to my specifications, I’m claiming it as my chair! Nic and the school handyman, Robert went into the bush to cut, as Robert put it, “blackman timber” to which he then laughed heartily as he does in response to most things, including everything Nic says and does.

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Many people find Nic & I highly entertaining even when we’re doing “normal” things like digging our vegie patch or washing the dishes. Particularly when Nic does “mama’s work” like washing the clothes. My mum asked in a letter how I was managing the washing so here’s a photo of exactly how, Mum!

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Nic has also been known to draw quite a crowd trying to fix our neighbour’s generator. (He said he was pretty pleased when he got it going as he felt like the pressure was on!)

Our other news is that we’ve been given a puppy (Don’t tell Luna and Gem!) His name is Dingo (so they’ll remember the Aussie volunteers after they’ve gone!) and he’ll stay on here as the school dog when we go home. The kids love him and vice versa so that’s a bonus.

This past week (as well as building furniture) I’ve started a remedial program with kids that we identifies as needing extra help. I’ve set myself up in a spare classroom and the kids come to work with me each morning. It’s good to feel like I’ve really started something. Even though I’ve held one workshop already, it didn’t feel like much. I’m also helping out in the classrooms during the morning English lessons. So that’s keeping me busy.

Nic is still working with the Peace Corps, Mike, from the next village on business classes and ecotourism classes. Today we went to a big school council meeting where we talked about an opportunity to get funding to repair the damage to the school so starting next Tuesday Nic will be busy helping the committee to write the grant application for that as well.

It’s all happening!

Love to everyone! Hope you’re all well and happy, drop us an email, comment or letter to let us know. We miss you all.

Posted by debnic 15:37 Comments (1)

An entry from Nic

A big thankyou to those who have written letters and emails (and blog comments). They mean a lot to us and are our connection with family and friends. The mail is erratic but reliable to Nikaura. It arrives in Lamon Bay on the twice weekly flights and is then eventually opened at the post office (which is the high school office). The truck driver, or anyone from Nikaura who happens to be in Lamon Bay, collects the mail and brings it to our village where anyone might pass it on to us. Our last delivery was brought to us by one of the boys playing soccer on the school pitch.

We are back from a short trip to Vila for me to sit an exam (and to catch up on some shopping while we had the chance). Vila is incredibly expensive, and we were pleased to get back to Nikaura to relax. Several letters awaited our return too which was great.

Deb ran her first workshop for the teachers when we got back – reading strategies. It went over well with the staff at the primary school who now number four (two teachers, one trainee teacher and one volunteer teacher). It was very gratifying to see some of the strategies in use the following week. Deb is now hard at work preparing her next workshop – multiple intelligences. For those of us who aren’t teachers, multiple intelligences refers to the many ways in which kids absorb information; e.g. reading, writing, music, pictures etc.

Lopevi the volcano has also come back to life since our return. The last few nights have been spectacular with the clouds lifting high enough to expose the top of the mountain (nearly 1500m). The lava flows reach about 2/3 of the way down. Local legend goes that the volcano is extinguished by the traditional owners of the island washing it to put out the flame. The owners don’t live on Lopevi anymore since a major eruption last century. They now live on Epi and some on Paarma, the two nearest islands. Occasionally people paddle canoes out to collect crabs. Last week some youth from Nikaura returned with a haul of crabs and our neighbour cooked one for Deb. Crab in coconut sauce, apparently very delicious.

Our vegie garden is up and running with tomatoes, pak choy, basil, snake beans, cucumbers and snow peas growing well. The snake beans were four centimetres high just three days after planting the seeds. Growth might slow down though because it has got cold! Last night it dropped to 18 before we went to bed, the coldest it has been since our arrival. This morning was the first time I put on a jacket. (sorry to all you people living in the south, I can’t resist the temptation to rub it in a bit!)

Domestic duties call, so I must sign off. Cheers from Vanuatu.

Posted by debnic 20:42 Comments (0)

Just a few pics

No photos of the insects, much more pleasant photos here!

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Nic and the boys sitting in the 'window' of the nakamal during the big lunch feast for the Shefa Day celebrations. Shefa is our province and we have a public holiday to celebrate the 11th anniversary of the setting up of the council. There were some fun and games as well as the huge amounts of food!

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The Sack Race in action.

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The women had a weaving race...

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...and supposedly the men had a fishing comp but 2 women joined in as well (there were only 2 men in it!)

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A soccer championship, of course! Everyone here is following Australia's progress in the World Cup too.

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And a volleyball match for the girls, they're the two sports of choice: soccer and volleyball!

More pics of cute kids later!
Love,
Deb & Nic

Posted by debnic 00:34 Comments (1)

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